While in the car with my family this summer, the song One Call Away by Charlie Puth started playing on the radio. I didn’t think much of it, other than that I liked the song, I liked the singer (high five to those who remember Charlie singing covers on Youtube) and I liked the love the lyrics were describing. Because what person doesn’t want a sacrificial love like that?
But it was when the song was nearly finished that my mom piped up, commenting, “This song shows God’s love.” I was caught off-guard because it’s not what I would classify as “Christian music”.
But, after my initial “No, it’s too romantic”, I realized that she was right. This got me excited. A pop ballad song in the secular world that can be related to Jesus’ love? Amazing. I know that likely wasn’t its original intention – but if the shoe fits, why not wear it? To me, it only shows that each of us is aching for the type of love only God can give.
Don’t believe me? Let’s go through the lyrics.
I’m only one call away
I’ll be there to save the day
Superman got nothing on me
I’m only one call away
God is everywhere. As Jeremiah 23:23-24 says, “I am a God who is everywhere and not in one place only. No one can hide where I cannot see them. Do you not know that I am everywhere in heaven and on earth?” And that’s so much better than Superman, who can only be in one place at one time. God is with you, He is with me, and He is with every one of His children.
We can also say God is ‘one call away’, because we can pray at any time, anywhere. Jesus saved the day because He saved us from hell, and God continues to work miracles every day.
Call me, baby, if you need a friend
I just wanna give you love
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon
Reaching out to you, so take a chance
The reference to “baby” is the only romantic term in the song. But even with it, as Christians, we are literally God’s children, so it still works. He is our Father, and He is our friend. We have a personal, relational God who knows our hearts and desires a relationship with each and every one of us. And if that’s not a sign of wanting to “give you love”, then what is?
No matter where you go
You know you’re not alone
This couplet is sung every time before the chorus, which means its sung a lot, and that also shows that its central to the song. When I hear this song, I hear God telling me that I’m not alone. And what a relief that is.
Come along with me and don’t be scared
I just wanna set you free
C’mon, c’mon, c’mon
You and me can make it anywhere
As we get into the second verse, the lyrics get even more reassuring. There’s so much here. “Come along with me and don’t be scared” sounds an awful lot like “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” from Psalm 94:19 and “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” from Joshua 1:9. With God with us, we can do anything; we are resilient.
“I just wanna set you free” reminds me that Jesus died on the cross for our sins in order to set us free. Those who know this and believe it are already free. And He wants those who don’t to also be free.
But for now, we can stay here for a while
‘Cause you know, I just wanna see you smile
And when you’re weak I’ll be strong
I’m gonna keep holding on
Now don’t you worry, it won’t be long
Darling, and when you feel like hope is gone
Just run into my arms
My favourite line is, without doubt, “But for now, we can stay here for a while”. Sometimes we’re sad, or don’t have the energy to confront problems. And Jesus recognizes our limitations. I talk about Jesus knowing our limitations in one of my previous posts here. The point is, Jesus will sit with us and allow us to grieve or recharge when we need to. We don’t need to be Superman; only He does. So when we’re weak, we only need to lean into Him, because He will carry us.
The fact that songs like this even exists shows us that there’s a God-shaped hole in all of our hearts that only He can fill. If we expect another person to fill that void, we will end up disappointed, like fitting a square peg into a round hole. People are flawed and they make mistakes, no matter their intentions. Let God fill that space in your heart.
That space in our heart wouldn’t have been put there if there wasn’t something to fill it. The love we’re looking for exists. This is a reminder to not fill it up with the wrong things. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” in Romans 1:21.
Don’t allow yourself to be foolish. When you feel like hope is gone, just run into His arms.